A Conversation for Midnight Oil - A Band With A Conscience

A place in Cabinet.

Post 1

Ivan the Terribly Average

On 3 December 2007, the Hon Peter Garrett MP was sworn in as Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts. smiley - cool It's a novel concept, having an Arts Minister who is, in fact, an artist.

Just thought I'd mention it...

smiley - redwineIvan.


A place in Cabinet.

Post 2

Skankyrich [?]

He's been under fire a bit recently, hasn't he?


A place in Cabinet.

Post 3

Sho / Flo - what's the difference?

I think he might be a bit extreme for mainstream politics - but he has to be there because he is, quite simply, apart from anything else: totally committed and people vote for him because of that.

smiley - magic


A place in Cabinet.

Post 4

Ivan the Terribly Average

I thought he'd be a little more extreme than he has been so far. Realpolitik has kicked in; if he's to be in the Government, he has to be pragmatic and toe the party line.

Naturally, that's precisely why he's a target for the Opposition (who have always been bad losers). He can be portrayed as a hollow man without any principles. But the thing is, it's one thing to sing about radical concepts, it's quite another to implement them in the face of opoposition from the rest of the Cabinet. And apart from that, he's only had the job a week... But now that he's raised the issues, he has to deal with them.

Much has been made of the fact that Garrett is Minister for the Environment - tree-hugging, fluffy animals, that sort of thing - while someone else is the Minister for Climate Change. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with that. The two Departments will work together well [he says, being a public servant and used to how the place operates]. The Climate Change job is mostly about economics; that isn't really Garrett's area of expertise.

Garrett is impressive in Parliament. Physically impressive. He towers over everyone else, and his legs take up more space than you'd think possible. He does not look at home in a suit.


A place in Cabinet.

Post 5

adarkally

I went looking to see and found:

Sydney Morning Herald (Dec 5, 2007): "Environment Minister Peter Garrett has vowed the federal government will not overturn approval for the Gunns' pulp mill after opponents launched another legal challenge against the Tasmania project....'The Rudd government has made it clear that we do not intend to overturn that approval with its strict conditions. The approval of the pulp mill and the conditions attached to that approval were subject to unprecedented levels of scientific and public scrutiny.'"

http://www.smh.com.au/news/NATIONAL/No-overturning-pulp-mill-decision-govt/2007/12/05/1196812789051.html

Seems (from an outsider's quick glance), that the lawsuit is a slick attempt to re-open a process that might eliminate or minimize some of those restrictions, as it otherwise seems odd that an environmental advocate would wind up fighting FOR a pulp mill.


A place in Cabinet.

Post 6

Ivan the Terribly Average

Given the amount of bile that's been spilled about that ghastly pulp mill, I can see that leaving the matter to the courts might have a certain appeal from the political point of view.


A place in Cabinet.

Post 7

adarkally

Do the courts in Australia do a good job of sorting out "bile" and "ghastly mess[es]"? :-0

We get mixed results in the States, pending how much current politics plays in to the supposedly autonomous higher courts.


A place in Cabinet.

Post 8

Ivan the Terribly Average

I believe the courts here are genuinely autonomous. Admittedly the government of the day can influence appointments to the bench, but the judiciary constantly surprises by exercising their independence. Just before the election the High Court threw out some changes to the Electoral Act; that startled the right-wing parties, who hadn't thought that their more conservative appointments to the bench would work against their agenda. Intelligent people, on the other hand, were simply delighted.


A place in Cabinet.

Post 9

adarkally

Startlement and delight. I like that combination smiley - smiley

We could definitely do with more independence and less predictability, but that's exactly what the appointment processes here are designed to weed out. Candidates with the ambition train their whole lives (I imagine) to adhere to a particular line so that they can move up with the political cards are right. At some point I suppose it becomes hard to startle oneself, let alone deal with the fallout from too much delight. smiley - erm


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